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Sunday , 22 May 2022

Naya Raipur:An intersection of Transit, Urban Development and Urban Design

Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh is being planned as a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) city ? first such city to be built in the country. TOD offers an entirely new perspective to both urban design and urban transit. It has the potential to solve urban transportation problems. Rajmohan Kurup takes a detailed look at the planning that is being done to apply the TOD principles in the City.

Naya Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh is being planned as a modern city based on the concept of transit oriented development. The city will have an area of 95.22sqkm and is expected to be home to about 5.5lakh people by 2031. Naya Raipur will be the first greenfield transit oriented development (TOD) city in India ? a city incorporating TOD as early as the planning stage. Transit-oriented development means development that is vibrant, pedestrian friendly and is seamlessly integrated with mass transit.

Developments in TOD are prioritised on the basis of a city?s proximity and accessibility to a transit node. The developments are also thought of as urban ?villages? which are concentrated within a 5 and 10 minute walk of quick & efficient public transport, and where people can live, work, and avail of various other facilities such as schools and entertainment in a pedestrian-friendly environment without the need of a personal vehicle. The heart of a TOD project is the mass transit, which in case of Naya Raipur is the upcoming Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). The entire development will take place around it.

All the roads of Naya Raipur are planned to have segregated cycle tracks and pedestrian walkways on their either sides. There will be signals at road intersections which will give priority to NMT users. To start with, a total of 31kms of cycle tracks and pedestrian walkways are being designed and will be implemented.

L K Panigrahi, Chief Engineer, Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) says, ?TOD is being planned in Naya Raipur to encourage transit of people through the BRTS which will be an efficient, reliable and comfortable mode of public transport. The BRTS will be within reach of residential, institutional, commercial and recreational areas by walking and cycling. This will be complemented by mixed use land development, again to encourage use of non-motorised transport (NMT) and to discourage use of personal vehicles. TOD also ensures higher ridership in BRTS, due to higher development density along the corridor which will make BRTS a self-sustainable and continually developing system of public transport. The System is not only for Naya Raipur but also for connecting important points of Raipur with Naya Raipur. The real success of the project will be offering the benefits of TOD and a planned city to its residents. Its success will pave the way for applying TOD principles to other urban areas in the state.?

Embarq India, a not-for-profit initiative of the World Resources Institute (WRI) ? a Washington D.C. based environmental think tank, has been partnering with the NRDA in developing a service plan for buses and BRT as well as developing the concepts of TOD. Embarq has provided technical assistance in developing the BRTS architecture, the operations and service plan, an institutional framework for implementation of BRTS and the contracting framework for its operations. For the TOD aspects of the project, it has facilitated the appointment of the TOD consultant and presented international experiences of TOD at workshops jointly organised by NRDA and Embarq India. It has reviewed the work of consultants appointed for the project, shaped the study in the right direction and developed a model sector plan. It has also assisted with the capacity-building of the NRDA staff in the BRTS, TOD and urban development aspects of the project.

The social benefits of TOD include affordable public transport which favours social equity and accessibility. Reduced vehicles promote safety while reduced emissions and short walking / biking trips promote public health. Walkable spaces make for vibrant cities. The environmental benefits include the reduction of travel time by personalised vehicles (VKT, i.e., vehicle kilometres travelled) and high standards of air quality in cities.

Amit Bhatt, Strategy Head ? Urban Transport, Embarq India says, ?The economic benefits of TOD include time and money savings, both for the individual as well as economy of the state as a whole, optimising investments in urban infrastructure and encouraging shifting of future personalised vehicle trips to transit and pedestrian modes. This decreases the need for large capital expenditure on roads and reduces congestion as the transit network is expanded. Also, the technological efficiency and enhancement in quality of life would attract investments in the city, thus increasing the competitiveness of Naya Raipur in the global world. The social benefits of TOD include affordable public transport which favours social equity and accessibility. Reduced vehicles promote safety while reduced emissions and short walking / biking trips promote public health. Walkable spaces make for vibrant cities. The environmental benefits include the reduction of travel time by personalised vehicles (VKT, i.e., vehicle kilometres travelled) and high standards of air quality in cities.?

Transit oriented development is the integration of public transport and accessibility with urban form. TOD has the potential to realise compact development? The focus on moving people and not vehicles is a clear call to favourably shape the physical environment with pedestrians as the focus, eventually leading to a better quality of life.

Elaborating on the concept of Transit Oriented Development, Rejeet Mathews, Project Manager ? Urban Development and Accessibility, Embarq India says, ?Transit oriented development is the integration of public transport and accessibility with urban form. The ensuing urban development in such a city is responsive to the impact and advantages that access to mass transit provides. Roads and non-motorised transport pathways are laid out to ease access to the transit stations, and land use is developed that maximises the benefit of proximity to stations. TOD has the potential to realise compact development. The focus on moving people and not vehicles is a clear call to favourably shape the physical environment with pedestrians as the focus, eventually leading to a better quality of life.?

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